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Marxism, ‘Manufactured Uncertainty’ and Progressivism: A Response to Giddens

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In a series of writings in recent years, Anthony Giddens has pursued two broad interconnected themes: reflection on the future of radical politics in a world in which, it is claimed, received political ideologies of Right and Left are exhausted; and, analysis of the character of what Giddens calls ‘second-phase’ modernisation. The connection between the two themes is straightforward: it is because the world has changed in profound ways that radical politics cannot be continued in the old way. Both of these themes are analysed at length in Beyond Left and Right. In this work, Giddens describes a long-run shift in our relationship to social and technological change manifest in the advance of ‘manufactured uncertainty’ or risk. This has been accelerated by a (more recent) shift from ‘simple’ to 'reflexive’ (or ‘second-phase’) modernisation which is a compound of a related series of developments during the post-war period – the ‘social revolutions of our time’ (globalisation and the rise of a posttraditional reflexive social order).


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